Studies have shown that if students do not have access to books or do not read during the summer lose up to 3 months of reading performance. Those losses accumulate during the elementary school years so that by the time a child enters middle school, he or she may be up to 2 ½ years behind! I wanted to share 5 tips and ideas with you to help your child continuing their reading progress throughout the summer. All children, whether from low, middle, of upper level income may fall victim to the summer slide if not provided with summer reading opportunities.
Help your child find “just right” books! Just right books are books that are of high interest to your child and are not beyond their reading level. You can use the five finger test to determine if the book is too difficult for your child. Open a book to a page with many words. Have your child begin reading the text. Hold up a finger for each word he/she doesn’t know. If you have 4 or 5 fingers up, the text may be too difficult for your child to read independently. Feel free to still check out or purchase the book! It just may be a book you want to read with your child.
Be sure to have your child read 15-20 minutes each day. This may be a good mid-afternoon quiet time activity. According to research, a child who reads only one minute a day outside of school will learn 8,000 words by the end of 6th grade where a student who reads 20 minutes each day out of school will learn 1,800,000 words by the end of 6th grade! That’s huge! If reading isn’t your child’s top priority, a reading incentive program may be necessary.
Cook with your children. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu too! Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook or plant a garden. Your child will gain responsibility and pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive. Children will be improving their reading skills while also learning! Plus, these are fun things to do together to pass those LONG summer days!
Listen to audio books on your road trips or pack activity books that the kids will enjoy looking at while traveling.
Take your reading outdoors! Go on nature hunts, scavenger hunts, walks, hikes, and more! If you go to a zoo or museum, make a checklist of things for your kids to find. This keeps them reading and writing, but makes it fun!